The Cairndale Hotel & Leisure Club stands on one of the main roads leading into Dumfries from the east, only a short walk from the heart of the town. Known, like its football club, as "Queen of the South", Dumfries is an ancient town with a long and turbulent history. Today it is by far the biggest settlement in south-west Scotland; the administrative centre for Dumfries and Galloway; and the focus of a large rural hinterland.
Town centre hotels can sometimes be a little hit and miss. We're pleased to be able to report that the Cairndale Hotel is an outstanding success in every respect. It's a testament to what can be achieved by someone determined to invest in the future and offers a range of really comfortable rooms; attractive and beautifully kept public areas; professional, attentive and friendly staff; and fantastic food. You can read our dining review for the Cairndale Hotel here. At the time of our visit the Cairndale was graded by VisitScotland as a 3 Star Hotel. There's a lot to be said for a 3 Star hotel that comprehensively surpasses your expectation of it, as the Cairndale succeeds in doing. It is everything you'd hope a large town centre hotel would be, and then some!
The hotel's origins date back to the middle of the last century and it has been owned by the same family ever since. The story over that period has been one of continuing investment in the quality and the quantity of accommodation, by expansion of the original building and by annexation of neighbouring buildings. The number of bedrooms increased from 48 to 60 in 1984; to 76 in 1990; and to 91 in 2020. Yes, in the midst of a global pandemic, the owners of the Cairndale continued to invest in the hotel and that does much to explain why staying there is such a positive experience.
Like much of Dumfries, the Cairndale is built of reddish stone. The main entrance leads into a large and impressively modern-looking reception which serves as the heart of the operation. From here wings lead off to the left (as seen from the front) and then through attached buildings; and to the rear, conforming to the shape of the island site on which the hotel stands. A small bar and two large restaurants - which form the Reivers Restaurant and can be used separately or joined together - are on one side, while some of the hotel's event space is on the right. The large car park is at the rear of the hotel.
Accessibility is good, with designated parking spaces, level access, a lift connecting all floors in the main building, and a number of accessible guest rooms. The 91 guest rooms come in a range of sizes, including classic and family rooms, suites, superior and four poster rooms and spa king rooms. We saw a sample and all feel comfortable and highly specified: as well as being well maintained and spotlessly clean.
Below the main hotel is the spa and leisure club, which comes complete with 15m pool, a jacuzzi spa, a sauna and a gym. This is also where you find the Forum Cafe & Bar. The spa and leisure club is open to hotel residents and to a local membership.
The Cairndale Hotel accommodates and caters for a wide range of functions from weddings to private parties and corporate events. Up to 300 people can be accommodated in the Park House Suite, while other spaces give flexibility for smaller events. The hotel is also known for its music and entertainment nights. Throughout the year, it provides an exciting programme full of dinner dances, ceilidhs, tribute nights and folk singing and everything in between.
We approached our stay at the Cairndale Hotel with high hopes and they were easily surpassed. We stayed for two nights. On the first night the hotel was quite quiet, but on the second night it was nearly full. Seeing how well the staff managed the visitor experience with so many more guests on the second night showed just how smoothly the hotel is run. Things like the way the Reivers Restaurant can be opened out to nearly double its size, and the way a self service buffet breakfast seamlessly became a served buffet breakfast on a busy morning were very impressive. If you are thinking of staying in the Dumfries area then we would highly recommend you consider staying at the Cairndale Hotel.